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SEPTEMBER 2020

Lukashenko Meets Putin In Russia, Gets Vow For $1.5Bn Loan And COVID-19 Vaccine

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Lukashenko Meets Putin In Russia, Gets Vow For $1.5Bn Loan And COVID-19 Vaccine

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On September 14th, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Russia’s Sochi for a working visit, and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Most notably, at the meeting between Lukashenko and Putin, the Russian leader pledged a $1.5 billion loan to Minsk, he also underlined that the Belarusian people should resolve their issues without any foreign interference.

“We agreed that during this complicated period Moscow would grant Minsk a state loan of $1.5 billion and we will do this. I believe that our finance ministers are now working at a professional level on this issue,” Putin said.

Furthermore, he said that defense cooperation between the countries would continue, and said that joint military exercises were beginning on September 14th and they were planned last year, and were not part of some play to send a warning to the opposition in Belarus.

“We will have to continue our cooperation in defence. Of course, I am referring primarily to defence companies. We have intensive cooperation in this area, including fairly sensitive areas, such as in the military sphere.

Incidentally, today we start the military exercises that were planned last year, which are scheduled to run for several days. But, in effect, this is routine for the military. This is for the training of troops. Let me repeat to prevent conjecture: this is an event that was planned and even announced last year. After the joint exercises the Russian units will return to their permanent stations.”

In an overview, these are the key conclusions from the meeting:

  1. The abovementioned $1.5 billion loan to stabilize the situation in Belarus.
  2. The official position of Moscow on the protests is that Belarusians themselves must resolve their issues without external pressure and through internal dialogue. With whom exactly is not specified. There will be no dialogue with the Constitutional Court of the Polish-Lithuanian opposition.
  3. Putin also supported the idea of ​​holding the Constitutional Reform in Belarus, the possibility of which had already been announced by Lukashenko. No timeframes were given on this issue.
  4. It has been confirmed that Belarus will be the first to receive a batch of Russian vaccine against coronavirus.
  5. Lukashenko said that the latest events in Belarus showed that Belarus “needs to stay closer with its older brother.” Announced that he would carry out a separate speech on the prospects of the CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Union.
  6. Lukashenko also said that Belarusians live an ordinary life, and they even help to hold protest marches by freeing the streets of Minsk for them. There are red lines, but according to him, no one has crossed them yet. Lukashenko promised to keep informing Putin about the protests in his country.
  7. Russian troops that arrived in Belarus to conduct the exercises, after their completion, will leave the territory of Belarus in a planned manner.

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